May 10th, 2022
What’s in this Week’s VEGGIE BOX: Carrots, Asparagus, Collards, Green Garlic, Red Onions, Lettuce
Bread this week: Rosemary Foccacia OR Whole Wheat your choice of one
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This week on the farm
Last week my mom wrote to you about raising kids in the country, and on the farm. She spoke about what we did and the place where we were raised. All of which was true, and fun to read about, for me at least. Today I want to take that thought a little further, and connect it to a particularly important day in my life.
What my mom did not talk about when describing our upbringing was our community. But boy did we grow up hearing a lot about this thing called community. We sure thought we knew what they were talking about when they went on and on about the importance of the thing. We went with them to the events that they told us were “important for the community” etcetera etcetera. But I don’t think I had any ability to actually understand how unique this place and our community really was, until adulthood.
It took going away to realize that not everyone grows up in the same house, on the same land for their entire first 18 years. That not everyone has a tight-knit group of families that all pitch in for every situation, from “preschool” rotations from house to house, to carpooling the 45 minutes to Davis once we started school, to vacations and on and on. Our community in the Valley here was very tight.
My parents also spoke a lot about the support of our CSA members, and the validity of the concept of Community Supported Agriculture. I remember as a kid, when our CSA was brand new, we would go to dinners at our host families houses, to meet them and get to know them, and create the bond between the farmer and the family. When my mom wanted to attend a CSA conference in Japan - the birthplace of CSA’s- we asked if our members could help. And they did. Another time, a CSA member who had tech experience built our CSA database for us, while another sold us my first car -1986 Volvo with 200k miles on it. When my mom took Claire and I to France in high school (for another CSA conference) we stayed with a women, who was a friend of a member. The list of ways in which we have been supported by the CSA community goes on and on.
But again, it wasn’t until I came back from the east coast that I REALLY started seeing it. Or maybe it was because I started living it.
So, about one month ago, I got to marry my sweetie at the farm. What a dream. But the dream came with a lot of planning and organizing and work. The type of organizing I grew up watching my mom do year after year, so I didn’t think too much of it, Just another task. Yet, as the day drew closer and closer, I started to understand how much it was to take on planning the ceremony, the food, the drinks, the band, and that everything had to be planned to be ready at a specific moment. Oy vey.
I thought I had it all under control until about Friday morning before the wedding on Saturday. That’s when I realized I was in over my head. That was also when I watched as my beautiful little community swooped in to carry my wedding through.
I had CSA members emailing to donate their flower bouquets back to the farm to make sure there was enough for the wedding. I had friends who are also CSA members come out to the farm on three different occasions to help clean up the garden. I had help in the kitchen; I had the entire family from Full Belly farms show up with everything you could ever need for a wedding. Amon Muller spit roasted a delicious 120 lb pig, which was so generously donated to us from Tim Muller of Riverdog Farm. Dru and Hannah Muller came for two evenings to help put together flowers for every flat surface. My aunt and uncle drove down from Oregon to pitch in. Eric’s family was washing dinner plates in their dishwasher in Fair Oaks. Dunloe Brewing in Davis (CSA members!) Donated beer for us to enjoy. It all happened so fast, that I found myself just dumbfounded with the amount of love and support I was standing in the midst of. All I could do was get overly emotional at every turn.
So, In conclusion, yes the farm was an amazing place to grow up, so special and exciting. But I cannot emphasize enough the impact the community around us had on our lives, and the importance I can see in keeping the bond between family and farmers, as we share our lives, our memories, and our adventures with each other. Thank you all for your continued support and presence in our community, and I look forward to nurturing this connection in the coming years. Have a great week ~Ali
Kashmiri Collard Greens
1 bunch collard greens (stems removed, in skinny ribbons)
1 tomato (dunk in boiling water for 1 min, peeled and diced)
1 large onion, thinly sliced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon grated ginger
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
½ teaspoon red chili flakes (or cayenne)
1 ½ cups water
Heat the oil and add the onions. Sauté on medium heat until nicely browned. Add the ginger and garlic and stir for a minute.
Add the tomato and stir for another minute. Add the collard greens, salt, red chili flakes and water. When it comes to a boil, cover with a tight-fitting lid, turn the heat to low, and allow the veggies to simmer away for 1 ½ to 2 hours. If there is still water remaining at the bottom of the pan, turn the heat to medium or high and let it evaporate. Serve hot as a side dish with rice and dal or with rotis.
Creamy Asparagus Rigatoni
1 lb Rigatoni Pasta
¾ cup Part-Skim Ricotta Cheese
3 cloves Garlic
2 oz Spinach
1 bunch Asparagus
1 head Romaine Lettuce
½ cup Grated Parmesan Cheese
Wash and dry the fresh produce. Heat a large pot of salted water to boiling on high. Snap off and discard the woody ends of the asparagus; cut the asparagus into 2-inch pieces. Peel and thinly slice the garlic. Cut off and discard the root end of the lettuce; separate the leaves. Thinly slice the cucumber into rounds. Quarter and deseed the lemons. Peel and mince the shallot to get 2 tablespoons of minced shallot (you may have extra shallot). In a medium bowl, combine the minced shallot and the juice of 4 lemon wedges; season with salt and pepper to taste. Make the dressing: Add half the Parmesan cheese to the shallot-lemon juice mixture. Slowly whisk in 2 tablespoons of olive oil until well combined; season with salt and pepper to taste. (If the dressing seems thick, slowly whisk in up to 1 tablespoon of water.) Set aside. Add the pasta to the pot of boiling water. Cook 13 to 15 minutes, or until al dente (still slightly firm to the bite). Reserving ¾ cup of the pasta cooking water, thoroughly drain the cooked pasta. Set the pasta aside in a warm place. In a large pan, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil on medium-high until hot. Add the garlic and asparagus. Cook, stirring occasionally, 2 to 3 minutes, or until the garlic is fragrant and the asparagus is bright green. To the pan of asparagus, add the cooked pasta, spinach, ricotta cheese, remaining Parmesan cheese, the juice of the remaining lemon wedges and ½ cup of the reserved pasta cooking water. Cook, stirring occasionally, 2 to 3 minutes, or until the pasta is thoroughly coated and the liquid is slightly reduced in volume. (If the sauce seems dry, gradually add the remaining pasta cooking water to achieve your desired consistency.) Remove from heat. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Transfer to a serving dish. In a large bowl, combine the lettuce, cucumber and enough of the dressing to coat the salad (you may have extra dressing); toss to combine and season with salt and pepper to taste. Transfer to a serving dish. Serve the finished pasta with the salad on the side. Enjoy!
ROASTED CARROTS WITH GREEN SPRING GARLIC PESTO
1¼ ounces fresh basil
2 ounces green/spring garlic, about 4 white and light green parts only
⅓ cup nuts of your choice
1½ ounces parmesan cheese chunks
1 teaspoon salt to taste
½ cup olive oil + 2 tablespoons
1 ½ pounds carrots, cut in half lengthwise
Preheat oven to 425°F/220°C. To a food processor or blender, add the basil, green/spring garlic, nuts, cheese and salt. Pulse until chopped. With the blender running, drizzle in the ½ cup (118 ml) olive oil until it is the consistency you like. Slice the carrots in half lengthwise so they are all the same thickness. Spread onto a baking sheet in an even layer and drizzle evenly with the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil. Sprinkle evenly with salt and pepper, rub to coat well. Roast for 25-30 minutes, or until they are tender when pierced with a fork. Remove from the oven and serve with the pesto
Creamy Peanut Noodles with Gingered Asparagus & Collard Greens
1 oz fresh ginger, minced (divided)
3 garlic cloves, minced (divided)
4 tbsp peanut butter
2 tbsp tamari
2 tbsp rice vinegar
½ tsp red chili flakes
6 oz rice noodles
¼ cup peanuts
6 oz asparagus ends trimmed and cut into 2-inch pieces
6 oz collard greens, de-stemmed and leaves thinly sliced
1 oz dates, roughly chopped
1 tbsp vegetable oil*
Salt and pepper*
peanut sauce: Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil for the rice noodles. Add just half the ginger, just half the garlic, peanut butter, tamari, rice vinegar, just ¼ tsp red chili flakes, and ⅓ cup warm water to a medium bowl. Whisk the peanut sauce. (4-serving meal: use ½ tsp red chili flakes, ⅔ cup warm water). Once the water in the large pot is boiling, add rice noodles and cook for 10 to 11 minutes. Drain noodles and rinse under cool water to stop the cooking process. Heat 1 tbsp vegetable oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add peanuts and cook until toasted, 1 to 2 minutes. Remove toasted peanuts with a slotted spoon and transfer to a bowl, leaving the oil in the skillet. (4-serving meal: use 2 tbsp vegetable oil) TIP: The noodles should be slightly undercooked, as they will finish cooking in a later step. Return the large nonstick skillet with leftover oil to medium-high heat and add asparagus and collard greens. Cook until vegetables are bright green and crisp-tender, 2 to 3 minutes. Add remaining ginger and remaining garlic, and dates. Cook until garlic and ginger are softened, another 2 to 3 minutes. Add a pinch of salt, and transfer gingered asparagus and collard greens to a plate. TIP: We will use this skillet again in the next step. Return the large nonstick skillet to medium-high heat and add rice noodles and peanut sauce. Reduce heat to low and simmer until the noodles are coated and sauce has thickened, 1 to 2 minutes. Taste, and add salt as necessary. Divide the creamy peanut noodles between bowls. Top with gingered asparagus and collard greens and sprinkle with toasted peanuts. Tuck in!